AMD PowerPlay is a collective name for a set of technologies implemented in a series of graphics adapters manufactured by Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) including the Mobility Radeon, the Imageon handheld chipset, and the Radeon family of desktop GPUs. These technologies aim at reducing the power consumption of GPUs.
The technology was first implemented in Mobility Radeon products for notebooks, to provide a set of features to lower the power consumption of the laptop computer. The technology consists of several technologies; examples include dynamic clock adjustments when the notebook is not plugged into a power socket and allowing different backlight brightness levels of the notebook LCD monitor. The technology was updated with the release of each generation of mobile GPUs. The latest release is ATI PowerPlay 7.0.
Since the release of Radeon HD 3000 series, PowerPlay was implemented to further reduce the power consumption of desktop GPUs.
Currently supported products
The official ATI support list lists only the ATI Radeon 3800 series desktop cards, but PowerPlay is also a listed feature of all Radeon HD 3000/4000/5000 series products. Independent reviews indicated that the latter was already lower power compared to other 3D cards, so the addition of PowerPlay to that line was clearly intended to address an increasingly power, heat and noise conscious market. The ATI Radeon HD 2600 line - which does not support PowerPlay - is now generally being phased out in favour of the 3000s at the same price points that also support PCI Express 2.0, DirectX 10.1 and faster GDDR3 memory - though it also works with DDR2.
The entire ATI Radeon Xpress line is also supported for single board computers which tend to be power sensitive and used in large installations where configuration and boot image control are major concerns.
Desktop versus laptop
The main differences between the desktop version and the laptop version is that the desktop version cut the feature which were aimed at notebook usages, including variable LCD backlight brightness, leaving dynamic clock adjustments. The PowerPlay technology for Radeon desktop graphics also used three usage scenarios, accordingly the normal mode (2D mode), light gaming mode and intensive gaming mode (3D mode), replacing usage scenarios in notebook (being plugged or unplugged from AC source). Tests indicated that the lowest core clock frequency of an RV670 GPU core can reach as low as 300 MHz with PowerPlay technology enabled.
- NVIDIA PowerMizer, similar functionality provided in mobile GeForce products
- PC Watch image. Retrieved December 3, 2007. Notice the core speed in current clock settings section in gray.